Expectations will be high for the Graves County Lady Eagles softball team this spring as they look to make it back to the First Region championship game following a 7-5 loss to Marshall County in the 2019.
Graves managed to accomplish quite the feat last season under third year head coach Scott Tucker as they put together back to back 20-win seasons for the first time in school history.
The Lady Eagles are poised to be a serious threat in the First Region once again this spring despite losing their top pitcher, Kristen Wimsatt, to graduation.
Wimsatt's little sister, Bailey, and a host of other Lady Eagles will be expected to fill her role.
Bailey, an eighth grader at GCMS, is Graves' lone returner with pitching experience but this may work in the Lady Eagles' favor as she was nothing but reliable when she hit the rubber.
Wimsatt saw action in four games last season, all in relief, throwing 10 ⅔ innings and giving up just two earned runs while striking out 13 batters and walking four.
On offense, the Lady Eagles will be stacked again as they return three hitters with .300 or better averages from a season ago, including star shortstop Bailey Wilson.
Wilson will lead a strong flock of Lady Eagles at the plate this season as she looks to add to an impressive Graves County career in 2020.
Wilson led the team in batting average and OPS last season, hitting .442 with a 1.267 OPS and tying with Laney Shoulta for a team-high 28 RBI's.
Shoulta's and Carson Travis should also contribute to Graves' potent offense as they each come off stellar 2019 seasons, each hitting above .300 while 28 and 13 RBI's respectively.
Looking at Graves County's daunting 2020 schedule which includes a March 17th season opener against Marshall County, Tucker said no matchup is more important than the other.
"We don't really look at matchups in the regular season. I try to make a very tough schedule that seasons us for the postseason. The team is very confident in doing this so we get better as the year progresses. With [last year's] tough schedule we lost a lot of close games, so we need to learn how to finish a game off and increase our win total along with getting better for the postseason."
While expectations will be high the Lady Eagles, confidence will be too as they return a bulk of experienced players to a budding young team.
When asked about team expectations, Tucker and his staff, which includes Maggie Glass and Hannah Wildharbor, said they believe the Lady Eagles will be in a position to play deep into the playoffs come May.
"We have quite a few returning players that now understand how we coach them and what we expect. This seems to have built unity in the team. We should be very strong defensively and I think our pitching will be good. We expect to be in the hunt once again for the regional championship. We have great leadership, our line-up should be very strong one through nine and we have a lot of power and speed, so I think we will be a very strong ball club."